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Fun with New Popular Edition Maps - Nick [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Fun with New Popular Edition Maps [Oct. 28th, 2006|03:29 pm]
In the UK, all maps produced by the Ordnance Survey are covered by Crown Copyright, which expires after 50 years. In the early 1950s, the OS produced a series of maps covering all of England and Wales at 1 inch to the mile, which are now public domain.

An OpenStreetMap contributer who's into mapping, Richard Fairhurst, has built up a collection of all of these maps, and paid for them to be scanned in. Another OpenStreetMap contributer, Laurence, carefully orthorectified several of these, and posted them online.

I then wrote some terrifying JavaScript which loaded a map page from Laurence's site, did terrifying things to all the links on it, and set up onclick helpers for all the maps etc. The result was that you could click along the map, and then generate a GPX file of where you'd clicked. This meant you could trace features off of an out-of-copyright 1950s map, and get them in a useful format.

This was very cool, but Laurence hadn't had time to do the whole country, so it wasn't really worth releasing. Then, Richard gave us a copy of all the scans, and David + Dom spent a fair bit of time orthorectifying and tiling these. We then had tiles of the whole country, at a number of zoom levels, and were ready to do something cool.

First up, we did http://www.npemap.org.uk/. This allows you to browse around the maps, zoom to places etc. The interesting this is that when you zoom right in, it asks you to click and tell us what the postcode is for that location. Our aim is to build up a public domain list of postcodes to lat+long (initially accurate for OX1, but later for OX1 1## sort of accuracy). So, head over there, find where you house is, and tell us the postcode :)

I'd updated my gpx site to use the new tiles, but it took a little while to get it playing nicely with IE. We finally got that cracked in the week, and so it's now ready for release. So, you can go to http://gpx.npemap.org.uk/, zoom in, click along a road / railway / river / canal / etc, and get a GPX file out for it. View an old railway's route in Google Earth. Trace a river for OpenStreetMap. Enjoy it!

Finally, Nick W has done a mashup of the tiles and OpenStreetMap, which he's calling Freemap NPE. It overlays footpaths and cyclepaths from OpenStreetMap on top of the NPE maps.

It's quite possible that there will be yet more cool stuff happening with these maps. If only I could get my head around the fun-and-joy that is Mapserver, we could have a WMS server for them. Any help on making Mapserver play nicely with OSGB projected raster images greatfully received...